- First 180 Days
ON THE PARIS CLIMATE ACCORD
June 1, 20173:32 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. (Applause.) Thank you. I would like to begin by addressing the terrorist attack in Manila. We’re closely monitoring the situation, and I will continue to give updates if anything happens during this period of time. But it is really very sad as to what’s going on throughout the world with terror. Our thoughts and our prayers are with all of those affected.
Before we discuss the Paris Accord, I’d like to begin with an update on our tremendous -- absolutely tremendous -- economic progress since Election Day on November 8th. The economy is starting to come back, and very, very rapidly. We’ve added $3.3 trillion in stock market value to our economy, and more than a million private sector jobs.
I have just returned from a trip overseas where we concluded nearly $350 billion of military and economic development for the United States, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs. It was a very, very successful trip, believe me. (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you.
In my meetings at the G7, we have taken historic steps to demand fair and reciprocal trade that gives Americans a level playing field against other nations. We’re also working very hard for peace in the Middle East, and perhaps even peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Our attacks on terrorism are greatly stepped up -- and you see that, you see it all over -- from the previous administration, including getting many other countries to make major contributions to the fight against terror. Big, big contributions are being made by countries that weren’t doing so much in the form of contribution.
One by one, we are keeping the promises I made to the American people during my campaign for President –- whether it’s cutting job-killing regulations; appointing and confirming a tremendous Supreme Court justice; putting in place tough new ethics rules; achieving a record reduction in illegal immigration on our southern border; or bringing jobs, plants, and factories back into the United States at numbers which no one until this point thought even possible. And believe me, we’ve just begun. The fruits of our labor will be seen very shortly even more so.
On these issues and so many more, we’re following through on our commitments. And I don’t want anything to get in our way. I am fighting every day for the great people of this country. Therefore, in order to fulfill my solemn duty to protect America and its citizens, the United States will withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord -- (applause) -- thank you, thank you -- but begin negotiations to reenter either the Paris Accord or a really entirely new transaction on terms that are fair to the United States, its businesses, its workers, its people, its taxpayers. So we’re getting out. But we will start to negotiate, and we will see if we can make a deal that’s fair. And if we can, that’s great. And if we can’t, that’s fine. (Applause.)
As President, I can put no other consideration before the wellbeing of American citizens. The Paris Climate Accord is simply the latest example of Washington entering into an agreement that disadvantages the United States to the exclusive benefit of other countries, leaving American workers -- who I love -- and taxpayers to absorb the cost in terms of lost jobs, lower wages, shuttered factories, and vastly diminished economic production.
Thus, as of today, the United States will cease all implementation of the non-binding Paris Accord and the draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country. This includes ending the implementation of the nationally determined contribution and, very importantly, the Green Climate Fund which is costing the United States a vast fortune.
Compliance with the terms of the Paris Accord and the onerous energy restrictions it has placed on the United States could cost America as much as 2.7 million lost jobs by 2025 according to the National Economic Research Associates. This includes 440,000 fewer manufacturing jobs -- not what we need -- believe me, this is not what we need -- including automobile jobs, and the further decimation of vital American industries on which countless communities rely. They rely for so much, and we would be giving them so little.
According to this same study, by 2040, compliance with the commitments put into place by the previous administration would cut production for the following sectors: paper down 12 percent; cement down 23 percent; iron and steel down 38 percent; coal -- and I happen to love the coal miners -- down 86 percent; natural gas down 31 percent. The cost to the economy at this time would be close to $3 trillion in lost GDP and 6.5 million industrial jobs, while households would have $7,000 less income and, in many cases, much worse than that.
Not only does this deal subject our citizens to harsh economic restrictions, it fails to live up to our environmental ideals. As someone who cares deeply about the environment, which I do, I cannot in good conscience support a deal that punishes the United States -- which is what it does -– the world’s leader in environmental protection, while imposing no meaningful obligations on the world’s leading polluters.
For example, under the agreement, China will be able to increase these emissions by a staggering number of years -- 13. They can do whatever they want for 13 years. Not us. India makes its participation contingent on receiving billions and billions and billions of dollars in foreign aid from developed countries. There are many other examples. But the bottom line is that the Paris Accord is very unfair, at the highest level, to the United States.
Further, while the current agreement effectively blocks the development of clean coal in America -- which it does, and the mines are starting to open up. We’re having a big opening in two weeks. Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, so many places. A big opening of a brand-new mine. It’s unheard of. For many, many years, that hasn’t happened. They asked me if I’d go. I’m going to try.
China will be allowed to build hundreds of additional coal plants. So we can’t build the plants, but they can, according to this agreement. India will be allowed to double its coal production by 2020. Think of it: India can double their coal production. We’re supposed to get rid of ours. Even Europe is allowed to continue construction of coal plants.
In short, the agreement doesn’t eliminate coal jobs, it just transfers those jobs out of America and the United States, and ships them to foreign countries.
This agreement is less about the climate and more about other countries gaining a financial advantage over the United States. The rest of the world applauded when we signed the Paris Agreement -- they went wild; they were so happy -- for the simple reason that it put our country, the United States of America, which we all love, at a very, very big economic disadvantage. A cynic would say the obvious reason for economic competitors and their wish to see us remain in the agreement is so that we continue to suffer this self-inflicted major economic wound. We would find it very hard to compete with other countries from other parts of the world.
We have among the most abundant energy reserves on the planet, sufficient to lift millions of America’s poorest workers out of poverty. Yet, under this agreement, we are effectively putting these reserves under lock and key, taking away the great wealth of our nation -- it's great wealth, it's phenomenal wealth; not so long ago, we had no idea we had such wealth -- and leaving millions and millions of families trapped in poverty and joblessness.
The agreement is a massive redistribution of United States wealth to other countries. At 1 percent growth, renewable sources of energy can meet some of our domestic demand, but at 3 or 4 percent growth, which I expect, we need all forms of available American energy, or our country -- (applause) -- will be at grave risk of brownouts and blackouts, our businesses will come to a halt in many cases, and the American family will suffer the consequences in the form of lost jobs and a very diminished quality of life.
Even if the Paris Agreement were implemented in full, with total compliance from all nations, it is estimated it would only produce a two-tenths of one degree -- think of that; this much -- Celsius reduction in global temperature by the year 2100. Tiny, tiny amount. In fact, 14 days of carbon emissions from China alone would wipe out the gains from America -- and this is an incredible statistic -- would totally wipe out the gains from America's expected reductions in the year 2030, after we have had to spend billions and billions of dollars, lost jobs, closed factories, and suffered much higher energy costs for our businesses and for our homes.
As the Wall Street Journal wrote this morning: “The reality is that withdrawing is in America’s economic interest and won’t matter much to the climate.” The United States, under the Trump administration, will continue to be the cleanest and most environmentally friendly country on Earth. We'll be the cleanest. We're going to have the cleanest air. We're going to have the cleanest water. We will be environmentally friendly, but we're not going to put our businesses out of work and we're not going to lose our jobs. We're going to grow; we're going to grow rapidly. (Applause.)
And I think you just read -- it just came out minutes ago, the small business report -- small businesses as of just now are booming, hiring people. One of the best reports they've seen in many years.
I’m willing to immediately work with Democratic leaders to either negotiate our way back into Paris, under the terms that are fair to the United States and its workers, or to negotiate a new deal that protects our country and its taxpayers. (Applause.)
So if the obstructionists want to get together with me, let’s make them non-obstructionists. We will all sit down, and we will get back into the deal. And we’ll make it good, and we won’t be closing up our factories, and we won’t be losing our jobs. And we’ll sit down with the Democrats and all of the people that represent either the Paris Accord or something that we can do that's much better than the Paris Accord. And I think the people of our country will be thrilled, and I think then the people of the world will be thrilled. But until we do that, we're out of the agreement.
I will work to ensure that America remains the world’s leader on environmental issues, but under a framework that is fair and where the burdens and responsibilities are equally shared among the many nations all around the world.
No responsible leader can put the workers -- and the people -- of their country at this debilitating and tremendous disadvantage. The fact that the Paris deal hamstrings the United States, while empowering some of the world’s top polluting countries, should dispel any doubt as to the real reason why foreign lobbyists wish to keep our magnificent country tied up and bound down by this agreement: It’s to give their country an economic edge over the United States. That's not going to happen while I’m President. I’m sorry. (Applause.)
My job as President is to do everything within my power to give America a level playing field and to create the economic, regulatory and tax structures that make America the most prosperous and productive country on Earth, and with the highest standard of living and the highest standard of environmental protection.
Our tax bill is moving along in Congress, and I believe it’s doing very well. I think a lot of people will be very pleasantly surprised. The Republicans are working very, very hard. We’d love to have support from the Democrats, but we may have to go it alone. But it’s going very well.
The Paris Agreement handicaps the United States economy in order to win praise from the very foreign capitals and global activists that have long sought to gain wealth at our country’s expense. They don’t put America first. I do, and I always will. (Applause.)
The same nations asking us to stay in the agreement are the countries that have collectively cost America trillions of dollars through tough trade practices and, in many cases, lax contributions to our critical military alliance. You see what’s happening. It’s pretty obvious to those that want to keep an open mind.
At what point does America get demeaned? At what point do they start laughing at us as a country? We want fair treatment for its citizens, and we want fair treatment for our taxpayers. We don’t want other leaders and other countries laughing at us anymore. And they won’t be. They won’t be.
I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris. (Applause.) I promised I would exit or renegotiate any deal which fails to serve America’s interests. Many trade deals will soon be under renegotiation. Very rarely do we have a deal that works for this country, but they’ll soon be under renegotiation. The process has begun from day one. But now we’re down to business.
Beyond the severe energy restrictions inflicted by the Paris Accord, it includes yet another scheme to redistribute wealth out of the United States through the so-called Green Climate Fund -- nice name -- which calls for developed countries to send $100 billion to developing countries all on top of America’s existing and massive foreign aid payments. So we’re going to be paying billions and billions and billions of dollars, and we’re already way ahead of anybody else. Many of the other countries haven’t spent anything, and many of them will never pay one dime.
The Green Fund would likely obligate the United States to commit potentially tens of billions of dollars of which the United States has already handed over $1 billion -- nobody else is even close; most of them haven’t even paid anything -- including funds raided out of America’s budget for the war against terrorism. That’s where they came. Believe me, they didn’t come from me. They came just before I came into office. Not good. And not good the way they took the money.
In 2015, the United Nation's departing top climate officials reportedly described the $100 billion per year as “peanuts,” and stated that "the $100 billion is the tail that wags the dog." In 2015, the Green Climate Fund’s executive director reportedly stated that estimated funding needed would increase to $450 billion per year after 2020. And nobody even knows where the money is going to. Nobody has been able to say, where is it going to?
Of course, the world’s top polluters have no affirmative obligations under the Green Fund, which we terminated. America is $20 trillion in debt. Cash-strapped cities cannot hire enough police officers or fix vital infrastructure. Millions of our citizens are out of work. And yet, under the Paris Accord, billions of dollars that ought to be invested right here in America will be sent to the very countries that have taken our factories and our jobs away from us. So think of that.
There are serious legal and constitutional issues as well. Foreign leaders in Europe, Asia, and across the world should not have more to say with respect to the U.S. economy than our own citizens and their elected representatives. Thus, our withdrawal from the agreement represents a reassertion of America’s sovereignty. (Applause.) Our Constitution is unique among all the nations of the world, and it is my highest obligation and greatest honor to protect it. And I will.
Staying in the agreement could also pose serious obstacles for the United States as we begin the process of unlocking the restrictions on America’s abundant energy reserves, which we have started very strongly. It would once have been unthinkable that an international agreement could prevent the United States from conducting its own domestic economic affairs, but this is the new reality we face if we do not leave the agreement or if we do not negotiate a far better deal.
The risks grow as historically these agreements only tend to become more and more ambitious over time. In other words, the Paris framework is a starting point -- as bad as it is -- not an end point. And exiting the agreement protects the United States from future intrusions on the United States' sovereignty and massive future legal liability. Believe me, we have massive legal liability if we stay in.
As President, I have one obligation, and that obligation is to the American people. The Paris Accord would undermine our economy, hamstring our workers, weaken our sovereignty, impose unacceptable legal risks, and put us at a permanent disadvantage to the other countries of the world. It is time to exit the Paris Accord -- (applause) -- and time to pursue a new deal that protects the environment, our companies, our citizens, and our country.
It is time to put Youngstown, Ohio, Detroit, Michigan, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania -- along with many, many other locations within our great country -- before Paris, France. It is time to make America great again. (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much.
Thank you very much. Very important. I’d like to ask Scott Pruitt, who most of you know and respect, as I do, just to say a few words.
Scott, please. (Applause.)
ADMINISTRATOR PRUITT: Thank you, Mr. President. Your decision today to exit the Paris Accord reflects your unflinching commitment to put America first.
And by exiting, you're fulfilling yet one more campaign promise to the American people. Please know that I am thankful for your fortitude, your courage, and your steadfastness as you serve and lead our country.
America finally has a leader who answers only to the people -- not to the special interests who have had their way for way too long. In everything you do, Mr. President, you're fighting for the forgotten men and women across this country. You're a champion for the hardworking citizens all across this land who just want a government that listens to them and represents their interest.
You have promised to put America First in all that you do, and you've done that in any number of ways -- from trade, to national security, to protecting our border, to rightsizing Washington, D.C. And today you've put America first with regard to international agreements and the environment.
This is an historic restoration of American economic independence -- one that will benefit the working class, the working poor, and working people of all stripes. With this action, you have declared that the people are rulers of this country once again. And it should be noted that we as a nation do it better than anyone in the world in striking the balance between growing our economy, growing jobs while also being a good steward of our environment.
We owe no apologies to other nations for our environmental stewardship. After all, before the Paris Accord was ever signed, America had reduced its CO2 footprint to levels from the early 1990s. In fact, between the years 2000 and 2014, the United States reduced its carbon emissions by 18-plus percent. And this was accomplished not through government mandate, but accomplished through innovation and technology of the American private sector.
For that reason, Mr. President, you have corrected a view that was paramount in Paris that somehow the United States should penalize its own economy, be apologetic, lead with our chin, while the rest of world does little. Other nations talk a good game; we lead with action -- not words. (Applause.)
Our efforts, Mr. President, as you know, should be on exporting our technology, our innovation to nations who seek to reduce their CO2 footprint to learn from us. That should be our focus versus agreeing to unachievable targets that harm our economy and the American people.
Mr. President, it takes courage, it takes commitment to say no to the plaudits of men while doing what’s right by the American people. You have that courage, and the American people can take comfort because you have their backs.
Thank you, Mr. President.
END 4:03 P.M. EDT
Republican National Committee
RNC Statement On The Paris Climate Agreement
WASHINGTON - Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel released the following statement on President Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement:
“Today, President Trump once again delivered on his campaign promise to put American workers first,” said Chairwoman McDaniel. “The Paris Climate Accord hinders the prosperity and growth of our economy, while doing next to nothing to actually help the environment. The president is sending a clear message that we will no longer remain beholden to burdensome international deals at the expense of our taxpayers. I commend the president for making this decision that will save the U.S. economy from the loss of millions of jobs and trillions in economic output.”
The National Center for Public Policy Research
Trump's Paris Accord Pullout Applauded by Policy Experts
Promise Kept to Protect Economy, Safeguard Jobs and Make America a Leader in Energy Production
National Center Provides Diverse Perspectives on Trump Action: Scientific, Regulatory, Business and from the African-American CommunityWashington, DC - President Donald Trump's decision to remove America from the Paris climate accord is being applauded by the National Center for Public Policy Research, a free-market think-tank which has - for over 25 years - actively opposed anti-competitive regulations that damage the economy and deprive Americans of affordable energy. National Center experts offering a wide array of perspectives on the issue are available to speak about how this action by the Trump Administration will benefit the nation.
"We applaud President Trump for having the courage to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord. It was a bad deal for the U.S. worker, a bad deal for U.S. industry, a bad deal for the environment and a bad deal for our system of government," said National Center President David Ridenour, an environmental expert who has attended past United Nations meetings on climate regulation. "Despite requiring a wrenching transformation of our economy that would cost millions of jobs, it would accomplish next to nothing even if you buy into all the dubious science upon which it is premised. Trump made the right choice for the economy, the environment and for constitutional government."
Ridenour's full statement is available here.
"In fulfilling his campaign promise to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord, President Trump has struck a blow for millions of Americans whose livelihoods depend on having ready access to affordable and reliable energy," said National Center Senior Fellow Bonner Cohen, Ph.D., an expert in regulatory and energy issues. "By targeting our use of fossil fuels under the wholly specious claim of protecting the climate, the Paris accord was specifically designed to shackle the U.S. economy. Elites here and abroad see our recent emergence as a global energy powerhouse as a threat to their ability to micromanage our lives through transnational agreements and regulations imposed by Washington bureaucrats. With one mighty stroke, President Trump stood up for those who have had no voice for too long."
"Trump fixed an Obama error. In honoring his commitment to cancel America's participation in the Paris climate accord, Trump is helping save an estimated 6.5 million jobs and $3 trillion in our national economy," said Stacy Washington, co-chairman of the National Center's Project 21 black leadership network. "The Paris climate accord is unfair and unworkable. While America bears a severe financial burden, countries that pollute as a matter of course such as China are not required to reduce emissions until 2030. This detail alone calls into question the benefit of agreeing to what amounts to the utter destruction of our coal industry. Thank God President Trump said no."
Earlier this week, Project 21 Co-Chairman Horace Cooper criticized the Paris climate accord earlier this week on the RT network's "The Big Picture with Thom Hartmann." Cooper noted: "The very same studies that were claiming alarmist predictions say that the Paris treaty doesn't make that much of a difference, and that those same alarmist outcomes are going to occur."
"President Trump's decision to exit the Paris climate accord is a victory for the free market and a defeat for rent-seeking corporations," noted Justin Danhof, Esq., the National Center's general counsel and director of its Free Enterprise Project (FEP). "Many corporate leaders became accustomed to the Obama leadership style of selecting winners and losers. In the energy market, Obama rewarded certain green energy providers and users with lavish taxpayer subsidies. It proved detrimental to the American people, especially low-income Americans paying more of their incomes for energy. Appeals by corporate leaders from companies such as Apple, Google, Facebook and Salesforce to remain in the accord were likely in hopes of keeping this taxpayer-funded gravy train rolling. President Trump showed real leadership, signaling that the corporate welfare state that flourished during the past eight years may be a thing of the past."
FEP has challenged corporate leaders at companies such as Apple, Google (now Alphabet Inc.) and Exelon at shareholder meetings about the sustainability of their support for risky regulatory regimes and alternative energy schemes.
The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than four percent from foundations and less than two percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 60,000 active recent contributors. Sign up for email updates here . Follow us on Twitter at @NationalCenter for general announcements. To be alerted to upcoming media appearances by National Center staff, follow our media appearances Twitter account at @NCPPRMedia.
As expected, President Trump announced that he is pulling the US out of the Paris Climate Accord. Before the announcement was even made, reaction on the left (and among various corporations that were no doubt salivating over the potential to profit from it) was so overheated that it contributed more to global warming than CO2 does. Trump left the possibility open to crafting a new deal that wouldn’t be as expensive to the US and as destructive to our economy and sovereignty. Refreshingly, he said that as President, his obligation is to the American people. And he did what I was hoping he would do: he used the podium to explain in detail to the American people what the Paris deal actually requires, rather than just the rainbows, lollipops and unicorns its defenders usually sell us.
He listed the predictions of exactly how much damage would be done to various US industries by complying with the current accord, how many US jobs it would destroy or export, and how much it would empty Americans’ bank accounts, all while imposing no meaningful obligations on the worst polluters, such as China and India. He said it would export US jobs to nations that don’t have to comply, and was less about protecting the environment than about putting the US at a severe economic disadvantage. He called it a “massive redistribution of wealth to other nations” (no wonder the Obama Administration loved it.)
He added that even if every nation held to its obligations, and all the dubious scientific claims of its defenders were accurate, its own proponents admit it would result in a temperature reduction of only 0.2 degrees C. by the end of the century. To see what that represents, go to your home’s thermostat and turn down the temperature by 0.2 degrees C. Oh wait, you can’t. Even the most advanced air conditioning system doesn’t measure a temperature change that microscopic. Compare that result to what could be accomplished with the same trillions of dollars if they were put toward eradicating hunger or disease or providing clean, safe water to people in Third World nations.
At the end, Trump said if the obstructionists really think this is so important, then he invited them to stop obstructing and join him in negotiating a new climate agreement that’s actually effective at cleaning up the environment and doesn’t put America at a debilitating disadvantage.
It was a terrific speech, featuring hard realities about climate dogma that have desperately needed to be said for a long, long time. I would only add that before European leaders start piously lecturing the US about our environmental sins, let it be noted that our environment is getting cleaner as we improve efficiency and encourage fracking, natural gas and clean coal. Europe is where clean, safe nuclear power plants that don’t generate CO2 are being shut down by leftist leaders for no reason other than irrational fear-mongering from environmentalists. Talk about science deniers!
Heartland Institute Experts React to Trump Withdrawal from Paris Climate Agreement
‘God bless President Trump for this courageous step to make America great again and to advance the America First Energy Plan.’ – Fred Palmer
President Donald Trump today announced the United States has withdrawn from the Paris Climate Agreement, which committed the country to cutting carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions at least 26 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. The Heartland Institute has been opposing this global accord since hosting a counter-conference at COP-21 in Paris in December 2015, when it was negotiated.
To see the extent of Heartland’s work in opposition to the Paris Climate Agreement visit this webpage.
The following statements from environment and energy experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Media Specialist Billy Aouste at firstname.lastname@example.org and 312/377-4000 or (cell) 847/445-7554.
“Today, President Trump announced the complete withdrawal of the U.S. from the Paris Accord. He gets it, totally. It’s been a long time since we had a president who cared as much about real science, energy policy, and the importance of economic growth.”
The Heartland Institute
“God bless President Trump for this courageous step to make America great again and to advance the America First Energy Plan. If new discussions go forward in Paris, the president must ensure no tariffs are allowed on our oil, LNG, and coal exports. The world needs our fossil fuels, and there are billions of people on Earth without energy. Let’s make sure we do well at home while doing good abroad.”
Senior Fellow, Energy Policy
The Heartland Institute
“President Trump is a breath of fresh air in the White House, a president whose primary mission is to promote the interests of America as a country, and the aspirations of the American people as individuals. The Paris Climate Agreement did nothing to promote a better environment but was a bad deal for American industry and workers – putting us at a competitive disadvantage with our geopolitical and economic competitors around the globe. Trump rightly recognized that hampering domestic fossil fuel use and production is a recipe for economic decline. Good riddance to a bad treaty!”
Research Fellow, Environment & Energy Policy
The Heartland Institute
Managing Editor, Environment & Climate News
“Trump’s bold decision is making the climate cultists on the environmental left go more berserk than usual. But even if every country that has signed on to Paris were to behave exactly as instructed by United Nations’ bureaucrats, the difference in global temperatures 100 years hence would still be a rounding error.
“Ideally, Trump could have submitted what was really a treaty to the United States Senate – where it had no chance of passing. Even better, the president could have announced he was pulling the U.S. out of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which underlies all these job-killing, wealth-redistribution schemes. Perhaps that’s for Trump’s second term.
“For now, we’ll have to settle for knowing we’ll never have Paris.”
Director of Communications
The Heartland Institute
“Thankfully, President Trump has decided to keep the pledge he made to the American people during the campaign to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement and spare them from its enormous compliance costs. The treaty sought emissions reductions from the United States that are incompatible with economic growth and job creation and would have burdened the American people with even more taxes, regulations, and subsidies aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions.”
The Heartland Institute
“By stepping out of the Paris agreement, the U.S. will no longer be in a position of having our wealth redistributed to the rest of the world. The gravy train has stopped.
“Today we move on with the winning – stopping the loss of millions of jobs, billions of taxpayer dollars to the Green Climate Fund, and increasing energy costs to the citizens.
“We will need to be vigilant with what may come next by the environmentalists. This is only the start.”
Research Fellow, Energy Policy
The Heartland Institute
“President Donald Trump made a smart political move with his announcement today: He didn’t discuss the science at all. He kept his comments limited to the economic effects of the accord and the unfairness of taxing the United States – a country that has been reducing greenhouse gas emissions – in order to send money to countries that will be allowed to increase emissions. Characterizing the accord as economically devastating and unfair to the average American hits the agreement at its weakest point.
“Former President Barack Obama unwittingly acknowledged the game-changing force of Trump’s argument today by stressing that nations adhering to the accord will enjoy a big boost from forthcoming green jobs. The fact that these green jobs obliterate at least twice as many other jobs is not lost on people in Pittsburgh and elsewhere around the United States. The promise of employment 10 years or more down the road rings hollow to people who have already lost their jobs – and see all the new tech employment gravitating to San Francisco and other places they’ll never even get to visit, much less find jobs in.
“Trump’s decision, and his announcement, reinforced the set of ideas that won him the presidency. On top of all that, the decision means a great boost to the nation’s economy.”
Director of Publications
The Heartland Institute
Senior Editor, Environment & Climate News
“President Trump is right to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement. I hope other developed countries follow suit.
“Regardless of what one thinks of the shaky science underlying the treaty, it is important to understand that Paris treats developed and developing countries very differently. Yet non-OECD [Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development] countries are now the greatest source of energy-related CO2 emissions.
“For example, while the Obama administration committed the U.S. to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions (82 percent of which is CO2) by 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025, China merely agreed to stop increasing its CO2 emissions by 2030. According to Hanna Fekete of NewClimate Institute, China’s emissions in 2025 are expected to be 70 percent above 2005 levels. This, Ms. Fekete says, ‘is putting them on track to over-achieving their Paris Agreement target.’ As President Trump would say, ‘Unbelievable!’”
International Climate Science Coalition
Policy Advisor, Energy and Environment
The Heartland Institute
“President Trump stands alone on the world stage as the only true global leader willing to call a spade a spade. The Paris Climate Accord was less about saving the planet than it was about transferring wealth and ceding governing control from the U.S. to other nations of the world.
“But beyond that, the Paris Accord was based upon faulty science – rising atmospheric CO2 is not causing, nor will it cause, dangerous global warming. Rather, this benign gas is beneficial to all life on Earth via its growth-enhancing, water-saving, and stress-ameliorating effects on plants, which are well-documented in Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts.”
Senior Fellow, Environment
The Heartland Institute
Co-editor, Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change
“If dangerous anthropogenic global warming (alias “climate change”) is false – and based on the evidence, plus the tampering with the data, it is – this removes the fundamental grounds for staying in the Paris Climate Accord. It also points up how duped countries were to have ever agreed to it.”
Professor of Physics
University of Hartford
Chair (2004), New England Section of the American Physical Society
“Today’s announcement withdraws this country from an extra-constitutional, unratified treaty that allows the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to ramp up costly, job-killing regulations that impose disproportionate harm on the poorest among us without any benefit to the environment. Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, but rather the lifeblood of the plant kingdom and the animals who feed on it. A warmer planet is good for Americans who live in temperate climate zones and who benefit from warmer winters and longer growing seasons. There is no evidence that human-caused warming has contributed to any increase in catastrophic climate events or to rising sea levels.
“This decision ranks with the choice of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch. It can only be hoped that these two decisions herald the ultimate end of the administrative state and its command-and-control regulations.”
Director, Economic Policy Analysis
General Motors (retired)
“President Trump has demonstrated resolute leadership in his decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement. Without any impact on global temperatures, Paris was the open door for egregious regulation, cronyism, and government spending that would have been as disastrous for the American economy as it is proving to be for those in Europe.
“Heritage Foundation analysts projected that this agreement would have raised energy prices, killed jobs, and cost the average family of four $20,000 by 2035. It’s the exact opposite of the ‘Make America Great Again’ agenda President Trump promised to pursue. Au revoir to the Paris Agreement, indeed.
“A word of caution: Any attempted renegotiation of the Paris accords must achieve measurable environmental gains, not cause economic harm, and should not spend a penny subsidizing energy technologies or transferring wealth to other countries.”
Herbert and Joyce Morgan Fellow
The Heritage Foundation
Policy Advisor, The Heartland Institute
The Heartland Institute is a 33-year-old national nonprofit organization headquartered in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, call 312/377-4000.
UNFCCC Statement on the US Decision to Withdraw from the Paris AgreementThe Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) regrets the announcement by the President of the United States that his government will withdraw from the Paris Climate Change Agreement.
The Secretariat also notes the announced intention to renegotiate the modalities for the US participation in the agreement. In this regard, it stands ready to engage in dialogue with the United States government regarding the implications of this announcement.
The Paris Agreement remains a historic treaty signed by 195 Parties and ratified by 146 countries plus the European Union. Therefore it cannot be renegotiated based on the request of a single Party.
The Paris Agreement is aimed at reducing risk to economies and lives everywhere, while building the foundation for a more prosperous, secure and sustainable world. It enjoys profound credibility, as it was forged by all nations and is supported by a growing wave of business, investors, cities, states, regions and citizens. We are committed to continue working with all governments and partners in their efforts to fast forward climate action at global and national levels.
Leaders of France, Italy and Germany
Joint Statement from Leaders of France, Italy and GermanyWe, the Heads of State and of Government of France, Germany and Italy, take note with regret of the decision by the United States of America to withdraw from the universal agreement on climate change.
The Paris Agreement remains a cornerstone in the cooperation between our countries, for effectively and timely tackling climate change and for implementing the 2030 Agenda sustainable development goals.
We deem the momentum generated in Paris in December 2015 irreversible and we firmly believe that the Paris Agreement cannot be renegotiated, since it is a vital instrument for our planet, societies and economies.
We are convinced that the implementation of the Paris Agreement offers substantial economic opportunities for prosperity and growth in our countries and on a global scale.
We therefore reaffirm our strongest commitment to swiftly implement the Paris Agreement, including its climate finance goals and we encourage all our partners to speed up their action to combat climate change.
We will step up efforts to support developing countries, in particular the poorest and most vulnerable, in achieving their mitigation and adaptation goals.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
MIT issues statement regarding research on Paris AgreementMIT issued the following statement on Thursday, June 1 2017.
A set of talking points circulated in support of President Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement included this statement:
“The [Paris] deal also accomplishes LITTLE for the climate
“According to researchers at MIT, if all member nations met their obligations, the impact on the climate would be negligible. The impacts have been estimated to be likely to reduce global temperature rise by less than 0.2 degrees Celsius in 2100.”
The researchers in MIT’s Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change who led the relevant analysis find this statement to be misleading, for two reasons.
First, the 0.2 degree-figure used in the talking point reflects the incremental impact of the Paris Agreement compared with the earlier Copenhagen agreement. If you instead compare the impact of the Paris Agreement to no climate policy, then the temperature reduction is much larger, on the order of 1 degree Celsius — 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit — by 2100. This would be a significant reduction in the global temperature rise, though much more is needed if the world is to achieve its goal of limiting warming to 2 degrees Celsius or less.
Second, the analysis accounts only for countries’ pledges under the Paris Agreement, assuming no further strengthening of the commitments in years after 2030. The Paris Agreement is a milestone of the ongoing UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which is committed to ongoing annual meetings to regularly revisit and ratchet up nations’ climate goals, making them more ambitious over time.
The relevant MIT researchers believe that the Paris Agreement is an unprecedented and vital effort by nearly 200 countries to respond to the urgent threat of global climate change.
The Office of Barack Obama
Statement from President Barack Obama on the Paris Climate Agreement:A year and a half ago, the world came together in Paris around the first-ever global agreement to set the world on a low-carbon course and protect the world we leave to our children.
It was steady, principled American leadership on the world stage that made that achievement possible. It was bold American ambition that encouraged dozens of other nations to set their sights higher as well. And what made that leadership and ambition possible was America’s private innovation and public investment in growing industries like wind and solar – industries that created some of the fastest new streams of good-paying jobs in recent years, and contributed to the longest streak of job creation in our history.
Simply put, the private sector already chose a low-carbon future. And for the nations that committed themselves to that future, the Paris Agreement opened the floodgates for businesses, scientists, and engineers to unleash high-tech, low-carbon investment and innovation on an unprecedented scale.
The nations that remain in the Paris Agreement will be the nations that reap the benefits in jobs and industries created. I believe the United States of America should be at the front of the pack. But even in the absence of American leadership; even as this Administration joins a small handful of nations that reject the future; I’m confident that our states, cities, and businesses will step up and do even more to lead the way, and help protect for future generations the one planet we’ve got.
GOVERNOR BROWN ISSUES STATEMENT ON WHITE HOUSE PARIS CLIMATE AGREEMENT ANNOUNCEMENTSACRAMENTO - In response to President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. issued the following statement today:
"Donald Trump has absolutely chosen the wrong course. He's wrong on the facts. America's economy is boosted by following the Paris Agreement. He's wrong on the science. Totally wrong. California will resist this misguided and insane course of action. Trump is AWOL but California is on the field, ready for battle."
Building on the global momentum to combat climate change and continuing California's leading role in broadening collaboration amongst subnational leaders, Governor Brown will travel to China tomorrow to strengthen California's long-standing climate, clean energy and economic ties with the nation. The Governor will also attend the 2017 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP23) in Bonn, Germany to represent subnational jurisdictions that remain committed to climate action.
California, the sixth-largest economy in the world, has advanced its nation-leading climate goals while also growing the economy. In the last seven years, California has created 2.3 million new jobs - outpacing most of the United States - cut its unemployment rate in half, eliminated a $27 billion budget deficit and has seen its credit rating rise to the highest in more than a decade.
California's Leadership on Climate Change
Governor Brown attended the United Nations' 2015 Climate Conference (COP21) at the invitation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Executive Secretary and France's Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development. Over the course of the conference, the Governor met with the UN Secretary-General, China's Special Envoy on Climate Change, France's Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, the U.S. Energy Secretary and former Vice President Al Gore, and participated in a number of events with other world leaders. Last April, the Governor traveled to the United Nations Headquarters in New York to participate in events marking the first day parties signed on to the Paris Climate Agreement.
California's ambitious climate action includes the Under2 Coalition - an international pact among cities, states and countries to limit the increase in global average temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius, the level of potentially catastrophic consequences - formed in 2015 by California and Baden-Württemberg, Germany in the lead up to COP21. The growing coalition now includes 170 jurisdictions on six continents that collectively represent more than 1.18 billion people and $27.5 trillion GDP - equivalent to 16 percent of the global population and 37 percent of the global economy.
Eighteen U.S. jurisdictions have joined the Under2 Coalition, representing 89 million people and 28 percent of the U.S. population. The Governor's upcoming trip to China includes meetings in Sichuan and Jiangsu, the first Chinese provinces to join the Under2 Coalition.
In March, Governor Brown reaffirmed California's commitment to exceed the targets of the Clean Power Plan and the state's efforts to curb carbon pollution, which include establishing the most ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction targets in North America and the nation's toughest restrictions on destructive super pollutants. The Governor has also signed legislation that directs cap-and-trade funds to greenhouse gas reducing programs which benefit disadvantaged communities, support clean transportation and protect natural ecosystems.
This action builds on landmark legislation the Governor signed in October 2015 to generate half of the state's electricity from renewable sources by 2030 and double the rate of energy efficiency savings in California buildings. Governor Brown has also committed to reducing today's petroleum use in cars and trucks by up to 50 percent within the next 15 years; make heating fuels cleaner; and manage farm and rangelands, forests and wetlands so they can store carbon.
The Governor has traveled to the United Nations headquarters in New York, the Vatican in Italy and the Climate Summit of the Americas in Toronto, Canada to call on other leaders to join California in the fight against climate change. These efforts build on a number of other international climate change agreements with leaders from the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Mexico, China, North America, Japan, Israel, Peru, Chile, Australia,Scotland and Sweden and Governor Brown's efforts to gather hundreds of world-renowned researchers and scientists around a groundbreaking call to action - called the consensus statement - which translates key scientific climate findings from disparate fields into one unified document.
Thursday, June 1, 2017
SIERRA CLUB ON TRUMP’S PARIS WITHDRAWAL: “ONE OF THE MOST IGNORANT
AND DANGEROUS” ACTIONS OF ANY PRESIDENT
A recent Yale Program on Climate Change Communication poll found that nearly 70 percent of Americans, including a majority in all 50 states, support the U.S. participating in the Paris Agreement.
In response, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune released the following statement:
“Generations from now, Americans will look back at Donald Trump’s decision to leave the Paris Agreement as one of the most ignorant and dangerous actions ever taken by any President. Trump’s decision to ignore the vast majority of the American public and the scientific community will harm our country, costing us lives, jobs and our role as a world leader. Trump has isolated our country on the world stage, ceding our leadership position and our economic advantage on clean energy to India and China, and justifying it all by chanting a slogan from a baseball hat.
“It's hard to overstate the negative consequences at home and abroad of this foolish, self-destructive move that will only help boost profits for few of the worst polluters while risking the health of our families and communities. Future scholars will search in vain to find a President with this level of disdain for reality and the future of humanity.
“Effective leaders are driving state and local action in the United States, moving strongly forward as coal plants across the country continue to retire, dirty fossil fuel infrastructure investments falter, and innovative policies drive clean energy jobs like solar and wind to profound new heights. With our allies, Sierra Club members and supporters have helped retire more than 250 polluting coal plants in recent years, and also ensured that more than 25 American cities, from Atlanta, Georgia to San Diego, California, have committed to getting 100 percent of their energy from clean, renewable sources by 2030.
“American climate advocates have a message for the world: we aren’t waiting around for Donald Trump to pull his head out of the sand, and neither should you. The Paris Agreement is the collective achievement of leaders around the world, and it cannot and will not be derailed by the ignorance of one man whose term of office is highly uncertain.”
League of Conservation Voters
CAROL BROWNER, GENE KARPINSKI RESPOND TO TRUMP’S PARIS ANNOUNCEMENTWashington, DC: In response to President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the historic Paris Climate Agreement, the League of Conservation Voters issued the following statements from former EPA Administrator and LCV Board Chair Carol M. Browner, and LCV President Gene Karpinski:
“President Trump has turned his back on America’s thriving clean energy industry and our health with this shortsighted decision. He must not realize that this is more about Paris, TX than Paris, France. The impacts of this politically-motivated decision will be felt in every American community, across the American economy and by every American child. Failure to act on climate change threatens our health, our security and our economy. This decision cedes American leadership and innovation to China, India and other countries who will take advantage of American workers by reaping the benefits of the clean energy economy while the United States stands idle.” – Carol M. Browner, Former EPA Administrator, Director of White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy and LCV Board Chair
“This is one of the worst decisions ever made by any president ever. Period.” – Gene Karpinski, President of League of Conservation Voters
Democratic National Committee
Tom Perez on Paris Agreement
DNC Chair Tom Perez released the following statement after Donald
Trump’s announcement this afternoon withdrawing the United States from
the Paris Climate Accord:
“Climate change is a pressing threat to our prosperity and national security. Tackling this challenge doesn’t just protect our planet, it also creates good jobs, strengthens our economy, and bolsters American leadership in the world. That’s why President Obama signed the Paris Accord.
“Today, Donald Trump signed away our future. As the world looks to America for leadership, President Trump and Republicans are keeping their heads buried in the sand, hoping the greatest challenge of our time will simply disappear. The president’s decision is not just a failure of leadership. It’s economically reckless. It’s a deliberate insult to humanity. And it’s a betrayal of future generations who will have to endure the consequences of Trump's reckless actions.
“We must act boldly and decisively today to protect our economy, our country, and our planet. This is one storm we cannot wait out.”
...and the next day, June 2, 2017
BY PRESS SECRETARY SEAN SPICER
AND ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY, SCOTT
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room
MR. SPICER: Good afternoon, everyone. EPA Administrator Pruitt is here today to deliver a brief statement on the President’s announcement yesterday and answer any questions you have regarding the Paris Climate Accord and the decision the President reached yesterday. As always, I ask that you keep your questions for Administrator Pruitt on topic. Once he’s finished I'll be back up here to answer some questions of the day. I would note that he has a flight to head to, so we're going to try to keep this relatively short on his end.
With that, Administrator Pruitt.
ADMINISTRATOR PRUITT: Thanks, Sean.
It's good to be with you this afternoon. And I want to first begin by saying that the President made a very courageous decision yesterday on behalf of America. He put America’s interest first with respect to environmental agreements and international discussions. I really appreciate his fortitude. I really appreciate his leadership in this matter.
The discussion over the last several weeks has been one of a thoughtful deliberation. He heard many voices, voices across a wide spectrum of vantage points. And the President made a very informed and, I think, thoughtful and important decision for the country’s benefit.
What we have to remember when it comes to the environmental agreements and international agreements with respect to things like the Paris Agreement is we have nothing to be apologetic about as a country. We have reduced our CO2 footprint to levels of the early 1990s. And in fact, from 2000 to 2014, we reduced our carbon footprint by over 18 percent. And that's been largely accomplished through innovation and technology, not government mandate. So when we look at issues like this, we are leading with action and not words.
I also want to say that exiting Paris does not mean disengagement. In fact, the President said yesterday that Paris represents a bad deal for this country; it doesn’t mean that we're not going to continue the discussion. To export our innovation, to export our technology to the rest of the world, to demonstrate how we do it better here is, I think, a very important message to send.
He indicated that he’s going to either reenter Paris or engage in a discussion around a new deal with a commitment to putting America first. The President said, routinely, he’s going to put the interest of American citizens at the head of this administration. That's in trade policy; that's in national security; that's in border security; that's in right-sizing Washington, D.C. And he did that with respect to his decision yesterday on Paris.
So, with that, I'd be glad to answer any questions you might have. And I don't know your names, so you’ll have to give me that. I'll just point to you, and we'll just go from there.
Yes, ma’am. Your name?
Q It's Mary Bruce with ABC.
ADMINISTRATOR PRUITT: Hello, Mary.
Q Thank you. I have a two-part question. I was hoping you could clear this up once and for all. Yes or no, does the President believe that climate change is real as a threat to the United States?
ADMINISTRATOR PRUITT: You know, what’s interesting about all the discussions we had for the last several weeks have been focused on one singular issue -- is Paris good or not for this country? That's the discussions I've had with the President. So that's been my focus. The focus remained on whether Paris put us at a disadvantage, and in fact, it did. It put us at an economic disadvantage.
You may not know this, but Paris set targets of 26 to 28 percent. With the entire agenda of the previous administration, we still fell 40 percent short of those targets. It was a failed deal to begin with. And even if all of the targets were met by all nations across the globe, it only reduced the temperature by less than two-tenths of one degree.
So that is something that the President focused upon with respect to how it impacted us economically and whether they were good environmental objectives that were achieved as a result of Paris. His decision was, no, and that was the extent of our discussions.
Q On climate change, yes or no?
ADMINISTRATOR PRUITT: Yes, ma’am.
Q Two-tenths of one percent, a statistic that you're citing -- the MIT scientists who helped with that report say that Trump “badly misunderstood” the findings of that report, and that, in fact, if we take no action, temperatures can rise a devastating five percentage points. So, specifically, what other science did the President rely on.
ADMINISTRATOR PRUITT: There were other stories that were published at the time. The MIT study was something that, as you indicated, showed two-tenths of one degree. They didn’t have a corner on the market as far as the studies at that time. There were many at that point. We can provide those to you.
What’s clear about Paris, what’s clear is that if you go back and look at the criticism that was being levied against the Paris Agreement, it wasn’t just from folks in this country who wanted it to be ratified, or were critical of processes, the environmental left was very critical of Paris. In fact, James -- what was -- James Hansen is an individual who said at the time it was a fake and a fraud. And the general counsel of the Sierra Club said the same thing. So if you go back and read the media accounts, there was much criticism, largely because it did not hold nations like China and India accountable.
As you know, China did not have to take any steps of compliance until 2030. India had no obligations until $2.5 trillion of aid were provided. And Russia, when they set their targets, they set 1990 as their baseline, which allowed them to continue emitting more CO2. In this country, we had to have a 26 percent to 28 percent reduction in greenhouse gases, which represented the Clean Power Plan and the entire Climate Action agenda of the past administration.
Q I’d like to go back to the first question that was asked that you didn't answer. Does the President believe today that climate change is a hoax? That's something, of course, he said in the campaign. When the pool was up in the Oval Office with him a couple days ago, he refused to answer. So I’m wondering if you can speak for him.
ADMINISTRATOR PRUITT: I did answer the question because I said the discussions that the President and I have had over the last several weeks have been focused on one key issue -- is Paris good or bad for the country. The President and I focused our attentions there. He determined that it was bad for this country. It hurt us economically’ it didn't achieve good environmental outcomes. And he made the decision to reject the Paris deal.
Yes, right there. Yes, sir.
Q Thank you. Given the fact that you and other administration officials haven’t been able to outline the President’s views on climate change, why should other countries believe that the President wants to negotiate a new deal in good faith?
ADMINISTRATOR PRUITT: As I indicated in my comments yesterday and the President emphasized in his speech, this administration and the country as a whole, we have taken significant steps to reduce our CO2 footprint to levels of the pre-1990s. What you won’t hear -- how did we achieve that? Largely because of technology -- hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling -- that has allowed a conversion to natural gas in the generation of electricity. You won’t hear that from the environmental left.
And so we need to export clean coal technology. We need to export the technology in natural gas to those around the globe -- India and China -- and help them learn from us on what we've done to achieve good outcomes. We've led with action, not words.
Paris truly -- Paris at its core was a bunch of words committed to very, very minimal environmental benefits and cost this country a substantial amount of money and put us at an economic disadvantage.
Yes, sir. Yes, sir.
Q Does the President believe that -- or does the administration believe that any additional deal on carbon emissions, whether it’s Paris or a subsequent deal, needs --
ADMINISTRATOR PRUITT: I’m sorry. I missed the first part of your question. Can you --
Q Does the administration believe that any deal -- whether it’s a revised Paris Agreement or another carbon emissions deal -- needs congressional approval? Either as a treaty or some other form --
ADMINISTRATOR PRUITT: Well, I think it’s clear with respect to the Paris Agreement that there are concerns by the administration. The President expressed this constitutionally in his speech yesterday. I have similar concerns that it should have been submitted to the U.S. Senate for ratification.
I think it depends on the nature of the deal, what you actually negotiate. If we're talking about exporting innovation and technology to the rest of the globe, I would say not -- I would say that that's not something that should -- needs to be submitted to the U.S. Senate.
I would say, however, that if you're setting targets, if you're setting emission targets that are enforceable domestically through regulation or statute, then very much so. The voice of American citizens across the country needs to be heard through the ratification process.
Yes, sir. Yes, sir.
Q Obviously a lot of people from the White House are not willing to answer this question of what the President’s view is on climate change. So let’s talk about your personal views. In March, you said, there’s tremendous disagreement about the degree of human impact, and you would not agree that it’s a primary contributor to global warming. Would you agree that human activity contributes at all to global warming?
ADMINISTRATOR PRUITT: I don’t know if you guys caught my confirmation process or not, but -- it’s a very intense process, by the way -- but that confirmation process -- I indicated that in fact, global warming is occurring; that human activity contributes to it in some manner.
Measuring with precision from my perspective, the degree of human contribution is very challenging. But it still begs the question what do we do about it? Does it pose an existential threat, as some say? People have called me a climate skeptic or a climate denier -- I don’t even know what it means to deny the climate. I would say that there are climate exaggerators.
In fact, many of you -- I don’t know if you saw this article or not, but “The Climate of Complete Certainty,” by Bret Stephens, that was in The New York Times talked about -- and I’ll just read a quote, because I think it a very important quote from this article -- “Anyone who has read the 2014 report of the IPCC knows that while modest, 0.8 degree Celsius warming of the Earth has occurred since 1880. Much else that passes as accepted fact is really a matter of probabilities. That’s especially true of the sophisticated but fallible models and simulations by which scientists attempt to peer into the climate future. To say this isn’t to deny science isn't to acknowledge it honestly.”
And I think that -- look, the debate -- what the American people deserve is a debate objective -- transparent discussion about this issue. And what Paris represents is a international agreement that put this country at a disadvantage with very little benefit environmentally across the globe.
Q If we just look at the --
Q Can I ask a follow-up question on that, sir? Why, then, is the Arctic ice shelf melting? Why are the sea levels rising? Why are the hottest temperatures in the last decade essentially the hottest temperatures that we’ve seen on record?
ADMINISTRATOR PRUITT: We’ve actually been on hiatus since the late 1990s, as you know.
Q But, sir, so there’s -- when NASA says that 95 percent of the experts in this area around the world believe that the Earth is warming, and you are up there throwing out information that says, well, maybe this is being exaggerated and so forth, and you’re talking about climate exaggerators, it just seems to a lot of people around the world that you and the President are just denying the reality. And the reality of this situation is that climate change is happening and it is a significant threat to the planet.
ADMINISTRATOR PRUITT: Let me say this, and I’ve said it in the confirmation process and I said it yesterday --
Q That’s true, though, right? About the Arctic ice and the sea levels and --
ADMINISTRATOR PRUITT: We have done a tremendous amount as a country to achieve reductions in CO2. And we have done that through technology and innovation. We will continue to do that. We will continue to stay engaged.
We are part, as you know, of the UNFCCC, and that process encourages voices by some national groups and by countries across the globe. And we are going to stay engaged and try to work through agreements and achieve outcomes that put America’s interest first.
This is not -- this is not -- a message to anyone in the world that America is somewhat -- should be apologetic of its CO2 position. We are actually making tremendous advances. We’re just not going to agree to frameworks and agreements that put us at an economic disadvantage and hurt citizens across this country.
Q Critics argue you’re putting your head in the sand, though, Mr. Pruitt. They’re a little worried that you’re putting your head in the sand.
ADMINISTRATOR PRUITT: There is no evidence of that.
Q Thank you, Mr. Administrator. Your fellow Sooner Senator Inhofe said that while he has full confidence in the President in this, he is very nervous about lower-level career government employees in the EPA and the State Department in actually executing what it means to exit the Paris Climate Accord. As the Administrator of EPA, what do you say to your own staff?
ADMINISTRATOR PRUITT: What’s important to know is that the President said unequivocally yesterday that the targets set in Paris, the 26 to 28 percent targets, are not enforceable and are not going to be complied with. The Green Climate Fund where the United States committed $3 billion of initial funding is not going to continue. That is unequivocally the case, and that’s going to be immediate.
Now, there are discussions that are ongoing with the Justice Department on the steps that we’ll be taking to execute the withdrawal on the exit. That’s something that’s going to be happening over the next several weeks. But as far as the targets are concerned, as far as the Green Climate Fund, that is immediate and it’s something that’s clear.
Q European leaders have made it very clear the deal can’t be renegotiated. So how does the President renegotiate a deal when the other parties aren’t willing to come to the table?
ADMINISTRATOR PRUITT: Well, as he indicated, whether it’s part of the Paris framework or a new deal, he’s -- it’s either approach.
Q But a new deal with who, if they’re not going to sit down at the table with him?
ADMINISTRATOR PRUITT: Well, that’s up to them, right? What America -- the United States has a seat at the table. After all, we’re the United States, and we are leading with respect to CO2 reduction. We have made tremendous progress. If nations around the globe want to see -- to learn from us on what we’re doing to reduce our CO2 footprint, we’re going to share that with them. And that’s something that should occur and will occur in the future. And we will reach out and reciprocate with nations who seek to achieve that.
Q And just a quick follow-up. You’re the EPA Administrator. Shouldn’t you be able to tell the American people whether or not the President still believes that climate change is a hoax? Where does he stand?
ADMINISTRATOR PRUITT: As I indicated several times through the process -- there’s enough to deal with, with respect to the Paris Agreement and making an informed decision about this important issue. That where our focus has been over the last several weeks. I’ve answered the question a couple times.
Yes, sir. Yes, sir, this gentleman right here.
Q Thank you. Isn't it of concern that the United States has broken a promise to 190 countries? And the President did not address that particular point. And second, you’ve several times raised the lowering of CO2 levels. Isn't the reason for lower CO2 levels because of blocking the smokestack spews that now are not allowed, the kind of regulations that the administration is now opposing?
ADMINISTRATOR PRUITT: As I indicated, largely, we have reduced our CO2 footprint through innovation and technology, not the least of which is hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling.
And the first part of your question? I forget.
Q Isn't it of concern that we broke a promise to 190 countries? And how does that help our credibility?
ADMINISTRATOR PRUITT: Well, truly, this gentleman’s question back here -- if it was a promise that was enforceable and was going to obligate this country, then it should have been ratified as a treaty, right? The exposure here to us domestically was 26 to 28 percent targets that were part of an international agreement, and there are provisions in the Clean Air Act that actually allow for lawsuits to be filed domestically to compel regulation to meet those kinds of percentages.
This was as much about constitutional and legal concerns as anything else. And the President dealt decisively with that. But let’s -- again, the important thing here is it put us in an economic disadvantage. The world applauded -- the world applauded when we joined Paris.
And you know why? I think the applauded because they knew it was going to put this country at an economic disadvantage. And the reason European leaders -- going back to the question earlier -- that I think they want us to stay in is because they know it will continue to shackle our economy, though we are leading the world with respect to our CO2 reduction.
That's all I’ve got. I’ve got to head to the airport. Thank you very much.
Q Our word is not our bond?
Q Why did you celebrate at a French restaurant last night? Was that a symbolic gesture?
MR. SPICER: Thanks, Mr. Pruitt.
Early this morning, in the May jobs report, it was released showing that Americans seeking jobs are having more success finding them than at any point in the last 16 years. There’s a lot of positive signs coming out of the job market. Over 600,000 private sector jobs have been added since the President took office. The key U6 unemployment rate, which gives a broader look at both unemployment and under-employment, fell a full percentage point since the President took office in January. Long-term unemployment is down by 187,000 since the President took office. And America’s miners and drillers are getting back to work, with that sector showing job growth for the second -- the seventh straight month.
The President is not going to stop until every American who wants to work can find meaningful employment. That's why we're working tirelessly on policies that will keep the economy growing -- with a tax plan that will leave more money in the pockets of hardworking Americans and making it easier for businesses to thrive; an infrastructure initiative that will generate $1 trillion of investment and put Americans back to work rebuilding our nation’s crumbling roads and bridges; repealing and replacing the job-killing Obamacare with a system that encourages competition and drives prices down; and a systematic regulatory reform to reduce unnecessary burdens on manufacturing and other key industries, aiming for the most far-reaching rollback since the Reagan years.
You can expect the President to be focusing even more on jobs this month and holding events in Washington and outside, pushing his pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda.
Later this afternoon, the President is going to be signing two bills that were both passed with bipartisan support that help protect those who protect us, our nation’s veterans and public safety officers.
First the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Improvement Act of 2017, which was co-sponsored by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York. It was unanimously passed by the Senate last month. It will reduce the unacceptable backlog of families awaiting approval of survivor benefits in public safety officers that were killed in the line of duty.
The second is the American Law Enforcement Heroes Act, which was co-sponsored by Senator John Cornyn and Senator Amy Klobuchar, which also unanimously passed the Senate, and assists state and local law enforcement in adding veterans to their forces by prioritizing the Department of Justice funding to law enforcement agencies that is used to hire veterans. It’s critical that we support our veterans and the loved ones of those who have paid the ultimate price while protecting our communities.
The President is glad to be signing these important bills today, and there will be a pool spray at the top of that shortly.
Also in Washington today, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos visited the Eagle Public Charter School this morning to show the administration’s support for inclusive school environments and celebrate the launch of the Department of Education’s new Individuals with Disabilities Act.
At the State Department, Secretary Tillerson met this morning with the Foreign Minister of Brazil, and is departing for Sydney, Australia this afternoon, where he will join Defense Secretary Mattis to participate in the 2017 Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations. Prior to his arrival in Australia, Secretary Mattis will attend the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, where he will deliver remarks and meet with regional allies and counterparts to discuss security issues.
With that, I’d be glad to take a few questions.
Q Thanks, Sean. I want to ask about the push for the travel ban to the U.S. Supreme Court. Is it fair to say that one of the reasons that the President wants to keep this going is obviously now we have a full Court impaneled, but also because it gives the White House perhaps a chance to build on some momentum, especially if you look back at yesterday? It would appear that his base was very pleased with what the President decided to do. Is that part of the calculus?
And I’d also like to ask as a follow about the XL pipeline. Can you give us an update on what’s happening with that in terms jobs and development?
MR. SPICER: I think that what we've said with respect to the executive order in question has been fairly consistent since its implementation and the first court action. So last night, we asked the Supreme Court to hear this important case and are confident that the President’s executive order is well within his lawful authority to keep the nation safe and protect our communities from terrorism.
The President is not required to admit people from countries that sponsor or shelter terrorism and until he determines that they are properly vetted and do not pose a threat or risk to the United States. That's pretty consistent with what we've talked about.
I don't have an update -- are you talking about in terms of production for Keystone? I don't have that at this time.
Q Thank you, Sean. You were asked earlier this week about the President’s personal views on climate change and whether or not he believes it’s a hoax. You said you hadn’t had a chance to have that conversation with him. Now it’s been 48-72 hours. What does the President actually believe about climate change? Does he still believe it’s a hoax? Can you clarify that? Because apparently nobody else at the White House can.
MR. SPICER: I have not had an opportunity to have that discussion.
Q Don't the American people deserve to know what the President believes on such an important issue?
MR. SPICER: I think that Administrator Pruitt pointed out that what the President is focused on is making sure that we have clean water, clean air, and making sure that we have the best deal for the American workers.
MR. SPICER: Trey. Sorry.
Q No worries. (Laughter.) Quick question for you related to the Paris climate agreement. Why does the President feel it’s important to continue to reduce carbon emissions and export clean energy technology?
MR. SPICER: I think he understands the importance of clean air and clean water, as I just mentioned, and a healthy environment, but also doing so in a way that provides American workers and our economy a way to grow. But obviously, as Administrator Pruitt pointed out, we've got a lot of technology that we can export to other countries and help them.
Q Just a quick question as it relates to climate change. Very simple definition of climate change is a change in the Earth’s weather patterns. The EPA Administrator said today that he does feel there is some value to the studies that say the Earth is warming somewhat. Does the President share the EPA Administrator’s thoughts on this topic? And why has the administration sort of backed away from using the words “climate change”?
MR. SPICER: I don't -- I have not -- as I mentioned to Zeke, I have not had an opportunity to specifically talk to the President about that.
Q Thanks, Sean. Yesterday the President painted a pretty dire economic picture if the United States were to stay in the Paris Accords, saying it would be disastrous for the U.S. economy. And yet dozens of the top CEOs of American corporations lobbied the President in order to stay in the Paris Accords. Why would the President argue that this is bad for the economy if all those CEOs are saying, you know what, we need to do this? Is the President right about the economic forecasts and all those private sector leaders wrong?
MR. SPICER: I think the President took input from a lot of individuals and there were other sectors that were very concerned about the implementation of it. Frankly, I think there were some companies and some organizations that are among those that you mentioned that, while they maybe wanted to stay in, also expressed concern about the target levels.
But at the end of the day, the President’s number-one priority is to get the best deal for the American people. This is who they elected last year. This was -- I think one of the things that we've got to remember is that the President was very clear on the campaign trail about his position on this, but he was also clear that he was going to negotiate the best deal for the American people. And if you look at all of the deals that we have -- whether they’re the trade deals or Paris -- the President has made it very clear that he’s committed to getting the best deal for America, America’s workers, America’s manufacturers.
Q Is the President going to replace Elon Musk and Bob Iger on the President’s advisory council?
MR. SPICER: I don't know at this point.
Q Thank you, Sean. The President’s critics are claiming that pulling out of the accord will lift China as a global leader. Do you agree with that sentiment? What does the White House have to say about that?
MR. SPICER: I don't think -- I think part of the reason that the President said it was a bad deal yesterday is because countries, including China, were not making substantial progress in reducing their carbon footprint. They weren’t doing enough and America was carrying the load. So I think by negotiating a better deal, hopefully we can get a better result for our country and the world.
Q Thank you, Sean. Yesterday, President Macron of France delivered a sharply worded speech in English attacking the President on the climate change decision, saying it is bad for all of our children. And he specifically called on scientists to come and move to France. What’s the President’s response to President Macron?
MR. SPICER: I think that the President has made it clear since day one that his job is to protect the interests of this country and our citizens. As he said yesterday, he was elected to represent Pittsburgh, not Paris.
Q Thank you, Sean. The Washington Post has reported that the administration is considering returning these properties in Maryland and New York to Russia. What is the reason for that? And what would the White House have to see before giving back those properties?
MR. SPICER: The State Department issued comments on that earlier saying, “The U.S. and Russia have reached no agreements. They're projecting negotiations further along than they are.” So the State Department is the lead on that, and they've been very clear where we stand on that.
Q Has the President been following the Kathy Griffin meltdown? And does the family want a personal apology for the beheading photo?
MR. SPICER: Does what?
Q Does the family want a personal apology from Kathy Griffin after the beheading photo?
MR. SPICER: Yes, the President, the First Lady, and the Secret Service have all made it very clear their view on those thoughts.
Q Sean, it’s been a matter of curiosity in this town for a couple of days now -- is the White House going to evoke executive privilege to prevent James Comey from testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee next week?
MR. SPICER: That committee hearing was just noticed, and I think obviously it’s got to be reviewed.
Q So is that -- that's not a no?
MR. SPICER: I was just saying I don't -- literally, my understanding is the date for that hearing was just set. I have not spoken to counsel yet. I don’t know what that -- what they’re -- how they’re going to respond.
Q Two questions, Sean, one on the tax bill and one on the debt ceiling. In the Rose Garden yesterday, the President said something about our tax bill is moving along in Congress very well. We’ve heard something about a bill being drafted in House Ways and Means. Is that what he was talking about? Or what tax bill was he referring to?
MR. SPICER: I think, as you know, Secretary Mnuchin and Director Cohn were here a couple weeks ago laying out the broad principles of what they look to see in legislation. They’ve had several discussions, both in the House and the Senate, bipartisan and industry groups. And I think that the reception that the President’s initiative has received in both chambers is moving along very well with leadership and rank-and-file members.
Q And then on the debt ceiling, we’ve been getting some mixed messages from administration officials on whether you’d like to see a clean debt bill or whether you’d be -- can you explain what the President’s feeling is on whether he’d like to see riders attached on a decrease in spending or whatever? What is his feeling?
MR. SPICER: I think both Secretary Mnuchin and Director Mulvaney have weighed in on this. This is something that we’re going to work with Congress on. So we’re not there yet; it’s something that our team is going to continue to work with them on.
Q Thanks, Sean. Two questions. Number one, when we heard the Administrator talk about this decision on the Paris Climate Accord he said it’s not a signal that the U.S. wants to disengage on climate policy. So what are the steps that the administration is taking to engage internationally on climate?
And secondly, as you well know, climate has been a key part of cooperation between the U.S. and China. Will you try to replace that very important sort of intersection of interest with something else? Will you continue to do some technological cooperation on clean energy, for example, with the Chinese? Do you have any thoughts on that?
MR. SPICER: Well, this is a decision that was just made yesterday afternoon, and I think the President is going to engage both with domestic stakeholders -- he mentioned in the speech yesterday he looks forward to talking to leaders in both parties about a way forward and reasonable ways in which we can engage in that. And then he’ll obviously talk -- continue to talk to world leaders. But that’s a process that has to evolve.
Q And on China?
MR. SPICER: What’s that?
Q And on China? The relationship with China, the point of cooperation -- have you guys given some thought to how you’ll manage? Because the model was, you manage tensions with China as the U.S. government by having areas of cooperation, and this was previously an area of cooperation. There’s obviously other areas that the White House is working on now with China, but do you envision some other cooperation on the area of climate with the Chinese government?
MR. SPICER: Well, the relationship that President Trump has established with President Xi has been quite remarkable. He’s talked about it very clearly. And it’s a model in which they’ll continue to build their relationship and talk about issues, whether it’s this or North Korea or other areas -- economic areas that they’re going to work together on.
So I think that the great thing about this issue is that the relationship that the President has and continues to build with President Xi is one that will allow them to move forward.
Q Thank you, Sean. In a recent statement by Senator McCain, he said that Vladimir Putin is a greater threat to the United States -- security of the U.S. than ISIS. Has the President had any conversation with you about that comment?
MR. SPICER: No, he hasn’t.
Q Sean, thank you. Secretary Mnuchin has said that he wants the debt ceiling raised before the August recess, that we’re going to run out of money by then. This morning -- he wants it clean as well. This morning, Gary Cohn said that the administration was willing to do whatever with Congress to get it passed before August, and the Freedom Caucus has said they want spending cuts. So what does this look like? It doesn’t sound as if the Treasury Secretary is going to get a clean bill. What is the administration willing to take as far as spending cuts to get the debt ceiling raised?
MR. SPICER: I think that was the nature of what Jen was asking, and I think that is a conversation that our team is going to have with congressional leaders and other stakeholders, Freedom Caucus and other members, about what it’s going to take. I think there’s bipartisan recognition that we need to get that done. And so Secretary Mnuchin, Director Cohn, Director Mulvaney and other members of the team will continue to work with congressional leaders to figure out what it takes to get it done.
Q Sean, could you tell me, how is the President dealing with the fact that there are several mayors -- many mayors -- from a bipartisan group, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, who are against the President’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement? How does this President move forward with what he’s saying about making coal great again and taking the -- walking away from the economics of clean energy, and then walking out of Paris, when you have mayors who are saying, we’re going to continue with the Paris Agreement?
MR. SPICER: Well, if a mayor or a governor wants to enact a policy on a range of issues, they’re accountable to their own voters and that’s what they should do. We believe in states’ rights, and so if a locality, a municipality or a state wants to enact a policy that their voters or their citizens believe in, then that’s what they should do.
But I will say that -- with respect to elected officials, there was, I think, a large contingent of officials at every level of government that were very pleased with the President’s decision yesterday and applauded him for that.
Q -- bipartisan group of Republican and Democratic mayors who are very upset by this.
MR. SPICER: And we have some bipartisan support for it.
Q Okay. And last topic -- there are a number of reports on hate crimes. Nooses have been found at the museum -- the new museum the President toured, the African American History and Culture Museum. And also there was a very negative word, one of the worst that you could say, spray-painted on LeBron James’s home. What is the President saying about this? Specifically, people are saying over the last 130-plus days people are feeling that there has been a divide that is perpetuated from this White House.
MR. SPICER: Well, I would respectfully disagree with the premise of that. I think we need to denounce hate in any form, in any act. And this President made it clear from election night to his inauguration that he wants to unite this country and move it forward.
Q Thank you. Did Secretary of State Rex Tillerson endorse withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement?
MR. SPICER: I'm not privy to the conversations that individuals had with the President.
Q We were told he wasn’t at the announcement yesterday.
MR. SPICER: I don't know.
Q Can you clarify the nature of the conversations that Jared Kushner had with Russian officials and a banker in December? And what was the date of the meeting with the banker?
MR. SPICER: I cannot. And as I mentioned the other day, we're focused on the President’s agenda, and going forward all questions on these matters will be referred to outside counsel, Marc Kasowitz.
Q But how can you not answer questions about it when the President himself tweets about it?
MR. SPICER: I just -- we're focused on his agenda, and all, going forward, all questions on this matter will be referred to outside counsel.
Q Thanks. Firstly, noting that you're not responding to any of those questions -- if you guys are actually finding a new spokespeople or people who will respond to this, that would be helpful. Two things. Do you have any update on the search for the FBI director?
MR. SPICER: As I mentioned yesterday -- I guess a couple days ago -- the President continues to -- has met with some candidates. When we have an update on that we'll let you know.
Q And you said you haven’t talked to the President yet about whether he still believes if climate change is a hoax. Can you -- would it be possible for you to have that conversation with him and then report back to us at the next briefing?
MR. SPICER: If I can, I will.
Q Even though Administrator Pruitt can't say where the President stands on climate change, does it mean that members of his administration helped the President make this decision to withdraw from the Paris Accord without knowing where the President stands, without knowing whether or not he thinks climate change is real?
MR. SPICER: My understanding is that individuals gave the President advice on the deal at hand, and he made a decision on what was best for the country and our people on the merits of the agreement.
Q Sean, we know that the President heard a lot of points of view on this on both sides of the issue, and there was an impression -- maybe a false impression -- that it was a difficult decision and that he was wavering. In the end, though, yesterday, he was emphatic about getting out of the agreement. In the end, was this an easy decision, or was it a close decision?
MR. SPICER: I honestly don't know. I mean, that's what -- the President is the ultimate decider, and when he comes to make a decision -- when he gets the information that is required he lets us know that has a decision and he announces it.
Q One other thing. There’s a lot of talk about renegotiation. Why renegotiate? The United States has the authority to simply reduce the targets. Why not just do that?
MR. SPICER: Because the President believes that it is in our country’s best interest to renegotiate the deal.
Q Sean, the President signed a waiver yesterday that delays a campaign promise to move the embassy to Jerusalem. I know you said that this was to not hinder any sort of peace deal. But how confident can his supporters be that this is a campaign promise that he’s going to keep?
MR. SPICER: I think when the President signed the waiver under the Jerusalem Embassy Act and delayed moving the embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, no one should consider this step in any way to be a retreat from the President’s strong support for Israel and for the U.S.-Israeli relationship.
The President made this decision to maximize the chance of successfully negotiating a deal between Israel and the Palestinians, fulfilling a solemn obligation to defend America’s national security interest. But as he repeatedly stated his intention to move the embassy, the question is not if that move happens, but when.
Q But he promised in the campaign to do it on day one. I mean, is there a time frame now for when he will do this?
MR. SPICER: His ultimate goal is to get peace. And as I said, it's not an “if,” it's a “when.”
Q Thank you, Sean. Following up on Kaitlan’s question, -- and I have a second thing after that -- is it still the administration’s position, though, that Jared Kushner was in the meeting with the Russian banker as a representative of the transition, representing the President?
MR. SPICER: As I said to Kaitlan, we're focused on the President’s agenda, and going forward, all questions on these matters will be referred to outside counsel, Marc Kasowitz.
Q Well, something you may be able to answer directly, does the President still have confidence in Jared Kushner?
MR. SPICER: Absolutely.
Q Thank you, Sean. One of the ethics waivers the White House released applied to all White House appointees concerning discussions with the news media was retroactive. Was that aimed as -- did the White House have Steve Bannon’s communication with Breitbart News in mind? Was that applied retroactively to address those communications? And any response to Director Shaub’s claim that if you (inaudible) retroactively you have violated the rule?
MR. SPICER: Yes, that's correct. There’s two pieces to that that are important. One is, remember, this didn’t have to do with the law or regulations. This had to do with the President’s pledge -- so he is the ultimate decider on that. This isn't with respect to a law or regulation. And what we discovered was that several individuals on staff had previously worked for media organizations, and in order to continue having those discussions and advancing the President’s agenda and priorities, it was important to make sure that all individuals had the opportunity to be able to speak to the media about what the President was doing to make the country stronger.
For what it's worth, today happens to be National Leave Work Early Day. (Laughter.) I hope you all get a chance to participate and maybe you can go home -- if you participated in National Donut Day -- you can go home early. (Laughter.)
With that, I hope you guys take advantage of that day. Have a great weekend. Thank you.
Q Are you going home early? (Laughter.)